Hated

ClosedFist hated wolves.

Everyone he had ever known, ever cared about, had been killed by wolves. He knew they would kill him eventually. The moment the wolves took him often haunted his dreams. He feared that moment more than anything.

This is the way he thought: The people of the tribe did fine, mostly. We could find food very well. The land where we live is good and keeps us fed. We make our leaf tents, and burrow under them. We sleep with our women and make our babies.

Life is good, mostly.

If it wasn’t for the wolves. The wolves are always there. So many! Impossible to escape from them, either. They run much faster than we do.

Often he wondered why it was that the gods decided to make people walk and run on two legs, when the wolves and other beasts have four. It is so much faster to run on four legs!

But then we would not have hands. And hands are wonderful! We make our spears, our flint tools. Sometimes if the year is good, and we take some game, we can make leather. We take the skin, dry it by the fire, and all the men take turns pissing on it. Then we take the fat from the meat and rub it on the skin until it becomes soft.

BuckHoof had taken some leather and cut it with the flint tools into long strips. Then he twisted it together. He was trying tangling the pieces together in all sorts of ways. ClosedFist did not understand the purpose of the thing that BuckHoof was trying to do, but it was interesting. BuckHoof called it rope.

So, maybe hands are good. We get to make things, do things which other beasts cannot.

But wolves still kill us all, eventually. Except Oroco. The people kept him alive. He remembers the old stories, from the priest who came before him. That was important to the village. We need to remember the old stories to know how we should live now.

So we keep Oroco in the center of the village, away from where wolves would come.

But Oroco was the only one. Everyone else always died from wolves. There were no exceptions that ClosedFist could remember.

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